National Newswatch
lawrence martin

For the old Tories, a final call to arms

Jan 18 2017 — Lawrence Martin — Remember the old Progressive Conservatives? In this era of raw populism, the name sounds quaint. But of course it was progressive Tories who spearheaded the party from the days of John A. Macdonald right up until Stephen Harper, right up until hard-edged conservatives devoured them like cupcakes. Old Tories went underground. They cowered under Mr. […]

lawrence martin

Cabinet shuffle: Why an overhaul was needed

Jan 10 2017 — Lawrence Martin — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet remake adds more youth, drops more aging white men and brings to the Liberal forefront a new little guy from Shawinigan. The shuffle provides under-performing ministries with some much needed reupholstering. Or so it is hoped. And it readies the Trudeau team – or so it is hoped – for […]

lawrence martin

Year 150: Will it bring fortune or folly?

Dec 28 2016 — Lawrence Martin — A trio of big developments head up the 2017 political calendar, not the least of which is the election of new leaders for our two major opposition parties. There’s a considerable irony here. The Conservatives and the New Democrats already have their best pilots in place. But interim Tory leader Rona Ambrose isn’t running and […]

lawrence martin

For Trudeau, a sour ending to a year of progress

Dec 21 2016 — Lawrence Martin — In the past few weeks, the Liberals of Justin Trudeau have gone from skywalkers to stumblebums. They’ve strikingly mismanaged issues such as their fundraising ethics and a new electoral system, serving themselves up as punching bags for the media and opposition critics. But a few weeks do not a year make. If the work of […]

lawrence martin

To rein in Trump, Canada needs Brian Mulroney

Dec 14 2016 — Lawrence Martin — Brian Mulroney has always been a foremost admirer of American presidents. Flatters them, cultivates them. Ingratiates himself. And to beneficent effect. For himself and, many would say, for his country. But Donald Trump? Him, too! “The Donald Trump I have always known,” Mr. Mulroney observed last week without gulping, is “a gentleman.” Has five wonderful […]

lawrence martin

Conservative Leadership race loosens as contenders stumble

Dec 8 2016 — Lawrence Martin — In the Conservative leadership race, Andrew Scheer is the one to watch. Maybe. The 37-year-old Saskatchewan MP is a model Conservative. He is clean-cut with a boyish smile, classic right-side credentials and down-home Prairie values. He is a throwback to that golden decade of the 1950s. Looks right off the set of Leave It to […]

lawrence martin

Trudeau’s blunders are dulling his shine

Nov 30 2016 — Lawrence Martin — It’s been a while but Conservatives can finally smell blood. They’ve got the Grits on the run. Back-to-back come Justin Trudeau’s cash-for-access imbroglio and his Fidel follies. The latter even clanged alarm bells outside the country. In the United States nothing brings the paleos snorting from the undergrowth quite like nice words about a Communist […]

lawrence martin

Justin’s challenge: Handle Trump like papa handled Nixon

Nov 16 2016 — Lawrence Martin — Canada isn’t “powerful enough to be unfriendly.” So said, piquantly enough, influential U.S. senator William Fulbright back in the day when Pierre Trudeau faced off against Richard Nixon. As is the case with president-elect Donald Trump today, Mr. Nixon was about as popular in Canada as hoof and mouth disease. Many were pressuring Mr. Trudeau […]

lawrence martin

The non-partisanship payoff: Two landmark advances

Nov 2 2016 — Lawrence Martin — Extreme partisanship is doubtlessly having a corrosive impact on the American way. It pits the people against the people, it stirs anger, malice, despair. But as polarization reaches unbearable levels there, consider what is happening here. Two developments of great significance, milestones you might say, have come in the past week. One was the signing […]

lawrence martin

Spurning the elites: The day our rank and file roared

Oct 26 2016 — Lawrence Martin — Oct. 26. On this day, 24 years ago, Canadians voted in a national referendum on the Charlottetown Accord, a constitutional reform that would rejig the federation, giving more power to the provinces. The elites loved this pact. Virtually everyone from the smart set, all the highbrows, were in favour. The consensus included the major federal […]

lawrence martin

Trudeau flexes his muscle with provinces

Oct 5 2016 — Lawrence Martin — Middle party. Middle way. Did anyone expect anything different? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to impose, if necessary, a national carbon-price plan while giving the green light to a huge liquefied natural-gas project in British Columbia follows a time-honoured Liberal tradition. Everything is still left versus right in our politics. Liberal governments lay anchor in […]

lawrence martin

Conservatism is in crisis, and it goes beyond Trump

Sep 28 2016 — Lawrence Martin — In this, the age of vitriol, how bad is it for the Republican/Conservative brand? There’s Donald Trump and his multitudes of visigoths, there’s Brexit’s white nationalists across the pond, there’s the fast-rising Kellie Leitch in a Canadian Conservative Party that was stung by tolerance questions in the last election. Outside of party base types, are […]

lawrence martin

Why the Liberals risk a drop in public trust

Sep 21 2016 — Lawrence Martin — How many contradictions and hypocrisies can the Liberals engage in before the people start to notice? The reversals have been coming off the conveyor with regularity, raising questions about how good the word of this government is. A few examples: Munir Sheikh, head of Statistics Canada, resigned a few years ago because he could no […]

lawrence martin

On energy, PM needs to lead with his head, not heart

Sep 7 2016 — Lawrence Martin — There was a telltale moment last week. Protesters shut down a National Energy Board hearing on the Energy East pipeline. The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was asked about it. He uttered not a word of admonition. The moment said a lot about where the Liberals sit on the question of environmental protection versus development. They […]